Data on power plant water consumption (i.e., evaporation) will reappear in the US Geological Survey's comprehensive water use report, which is based on 2010 data. Set for release in 2014, the previously dropped statistics return because the USGS can now compare self-reported numbers from power plants to their newly developed heat budget model. [Circle of Blue]
Comments on the Food Safety Modernization Act are due Friday November 15! Signed by President Obama in 2011, the act is finally getting its finishing touches before the FDA takes its new rules on the road. Many small, locally-distributing farmers are concerned about the impact certain rules will have on their businesses, especially rules intended for larger operations. [Grist]
Need evidence that renewables are a favored source of energy across all political leanings? Of at least 37 bills that have been introduced this year to eliminate or weaken states' renewable portfolio standards, which set a minimum requirement for how much energy a state's utilities must draw from renewable sources like solar and wind, only one succeeded. [Huffington Post]
Farm and pharmaceutical lobbies have made passing legislation to limit the use of antibiotics on industrial farms next to impossible, according to a John Hopkins report published last Tuesday. Although the FDA is against the use of nontherapeutic antibiotics, the agency (and Congress) have repeatedly bent under lobbyist pressure, preventing meaningful legislative and regulatory efforts. [Washington Post]
A small town in Kansas has implemented a five-year trial requiring farmers to cut back on the amount of water they source from the Ogallala Aquifer. Officials have warned that the rate of irrigation from the aquifer far exceeds its rate of replenishment. If more farms in the region do not join the conservation movement, the town may be unable to continue its initiative. [NPR]
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future revisited the 2008 Pew Commission report on industrial farm animal production and found that little to no regulatory progress has been made to address any of the serious threats posed by this sector of agriculture.
The government shutdown is causing many safety inspectors to be sent home. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, responsible for the safety of US nuclear plants, is set to furlough about 3,600 of its 3,900 employees. The employees retained are resident inspectors at reactors and those ready to respond to emergencies. [Bloomberg]
California boosted the appeal of urban farming statewide by incentivizing long-term leases for agricultural purposes last week through a tax break option. Urban farmers have long faced risk of eviction and instability due to the short-term leases landowners typically offer, and they hope cities across California choose to participate in this program. [Civil Eats]